The Troubadour

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
After 11 years with Capitol Records, Merle Haggard departed the label for MCA in 1977, kicking off a five-year stint that is by most measures the most turbulent in the singer/songwriter's career. Capitol wasn't the only longtime relationship he left behind as he faced 40. He left Bonnie Owens for Leona Williams, who soon replaced Bonnie as his wife and duet partner. He tentatively began recording in Nashville, where he was convinced to leave behind his road-tested Strangers in favor of studio pros. He suffered a bit of a dry spell as a songwriter, leading him to record beloved covers and questionable new tunes alike. All these ups and downs are evident on 2012's...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
After 11 years with Capitol Records, Merle Haggard departed the label for MCA in 1977, kicking off a five-year stint that is by most measures the most turbulent in the singer/songwriter's career. Capitol wasn't the only longtime relationship he left behind as he faced 40. He left Bonnie Owens for Leona Williams, who soon replaced Bonnie as his wife and duet partner. He tentatively began recording in Nashville, where he was convinced to leave behind his road-tested Strangers in favor of studio pros. He suffered a bit of a dry spell as a songwriter, leading him to record beloved covers and questionable new tunes alike. All these ups and downs are evident on 2012's The Troubadour, Bear Family's fourth Merle Haggard box, which chronicles the entirety of those MCA recordings over the course of 111 tracks. Haggard closed his run at MCA in a stronger position than he started and the music here is pretty much the working definition of a transitional period. Hag tries on different sounds and recording styles, rushing out a heartfelt tribute to a departed Elvis Presley, then agreeing to attempt to cash in on the CB radio craze way after the "Convoy" had passed, happily recording a duet with Clint Eastwood for Bronco Billy, grudgingly cutting "If We're Not Back in Love by Monday" -- a plain ripoff of his own "If We Make It Through December" -- but throwing himself into Jimmy Bowen's meticulous production for Serving 190 Proof, where he'd cut no more than one track a day. Serving 190 Proof wound up as one of Haggard's great albums and it's hardly the only highlight from these years. That Elvis Presley tribute is surprising and soulful, Back to the Barrooms is an excellent hard country record, and he wrapped up his time with the rollicking live album Rainbow Stew: Live at Anaheim Stadium. Along the way, he cut a few songs that qualify as Haggard classics -- the gorgeously heartbroken "Misery and Gin" and its defiant counterpart "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink," the moody "I'm Always on the Mountain When I Fall" -- a bunch of strong straight-ahead country, some beautiful neglected gems like the unreleased song that lends its title to this box, a pretty good collection of spiritual tunes dedicated to his mom, plus some flotsam that's interesting as cultural artifacts (that CB single "The Bull and the Beaver"/"I'm Getting High," music for the botched 1981 blockbuster The Legend of the Lone Ranger). By any measure this box is a mixed bag, but it's a fascinating one because it tells a story: at the beginning Merle seems lost but by the time it wraps up, Haggard has regained his voice and authority, weathering his midlife crisis and becoming stronger once again.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/21/2012
  • Label: Imports
  • EAN: 4000127172501
  • Catalog Number: 2717250
  • Sales rank: 393,118

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Troubadour (2:28)
  2. 2 I Think It's Gone Forever (2:55)
  3. 3 If We're Not Back In Love By Monday (3:14)
  4. 4 Ramblin' Fever (3:08)
  5. 5 When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again (3:17)
  6. 6 Ghost Story (2:42)
  7. 7 Set Me Free (2:46)
  8. 8 Love Somebody To Death (3:13)
  9. 9 Ain't Your Memory Got No Pride At All (2:33)
  10. 10 My Love For You (2:25)
  11. 11 The Last Letter (3:34)
  12. 12 From Graceland To the Promised Land (2:31)
  13. 13 Blue Christmas (2:25)
  14. 14 Are You Lonesome Tonight (2:50)
  15. 15 In the Ghetto (2:56)
  16. 16 Don't Be Cruel (2:01)
  17. 17 Jailhouse Rock (2:52)
  18. 18 Love Me Tender (2:43)
  19. 19 That's All Right (Mama) (2:29)
  20. 20 Heartbreak Hotel (2:19)
  21. 21 Blue Suede Shoes (2:03)
  22. 22 Merle's Farewell To Elvis (0:19)
  23. 23 I'm Always On a Mountain When I Fall (2:51)
  24. 24 Life of a Rodeo Cowboy (2:59)
  25. 25 It's Been a Great Afternoon (2:47)
  26. 26 Love Me When You Can (3:25)
  27. 27 There Won't Be Another Now (4:02)
  28. 28 Don't You Ever Get Tired (of Hurting Me) (3:29)
  29. 29 There Ain't No Good Chain Gang (3:04)
  30. 30 The Dream (3:02)
  31. 31 The Immigrant (3:06)
  32. 32 Mama, I've Got To Go To Memphis (3:01)
Disc 2
  1. 1 The Bull and the Beaver - Leona Williams (2:42)
  2. 2 I'm Getting High - Leona Williams (2:50)
  3. 3 Red Bandana (2:33)
  4. 4 Driftwood (3:01)
  5. 5 Sing a Family Song (3:16)
  6. 6 Footlights (4:01)
  7. 7 Got Lonely Too Early This Morning (3:05)
  8. 8 Heaven Was a Drink of Wine (2:50)
  9. 9 I Can't Get Away (3:11)
  10. 10 My Own Kind of Hat (2:55)
  11. 11 I Didn't Mean To Love You (2:32)
  12. 12 Roses In the Winter (3:56)
  13. 13 I Must Have Done Something Bad (3:28)
  14. 14 The Way I Am (2:55)
  15. 15 Wake Up (4:06)
  16. 16 Sky-Bo (3:31)
  17. 17 No One To Sing For (But the Band) (3:34)
  18. 18 Remember Me (I'm the One Who Loves You) (3:01)
  19. 19 Life's Just Not the Way It Used To Be (2:53)
  20. 20 Where Have You Been (2:49)
  21. 21 Take Me Back and Try Me One More Time (2:51)
  22. 22 I'll Always Be Glad To Take You Back (3:19)
  23. 23 It Makes No Difference Now (3:07)
  24. 24 It's Been So Long Darlin' (3:02)
  25. 25 Misery and Gin (2:49)
  26. 26 Bar Room Buddies - Clint Eastwood (2:17)
  27. 27 You Babe (3:48)
Disc 3
  1. 1 My Life's Been Grand (2:33)
  2. 2 Tell Me Something Bad About Tulsa (3:15)
  3. 3 Love Keeps Hanging On (3:59)
  4. 4 It's All In the Game (3:48)
  5. 5 Why Can't I Cry (4:59)
  6. 6 Bleachers (3:24)
  7. 7 Love Don't Hurt Every Time (2:33)
  8. 8 Susie (2:27)
  9. 9 Pennies From Heaven (4:14)
  10. 10 Make-Up and Faded Blue Jeans (4:05)
  11. 11 Ever Changing Woman (2:28)
  12. 12 Help Save the Wild Life (2:19)
  13. 13 Leonard (3:37)
  14. 14 I Don't Want To Sober Up Tonight (3:28)
  15. 15 Dealing With the Devil (3:26)
  16. 16 Can't Break the Habit (3:05)
  17. 17 Lay Your Hands On My Heart (3:19)
  18. 18 Back To the Barrooms Again (2:34)
  19. 19 Our Paths May Never Cross (2:44)
  20. 20 I Don't Have Any More Love Songs (3:03)
  21. 21 I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink (4:32)
  22. 22 I Don't Want To Sober Up Tonight (3:29)
  23. 23 The New Cocaine Blues (3:39)
  24. 24 Easy Come, Easy Go (3:32)
  25. 25 Easy Come, Easy Go (3:11)
Disc 4
  1. 1 When God Comes and Gathers His Jewels (2:58)
  2. 2 Supper Time (2:43)
  3. 3 He Walks With Me (2:21)
  4. 4 Softly and Tenderly (3:01)
  5. 5 Why Me (3:10)
  6. 6 Where No One Stands Alone (3:00)
  7. 7 One Day At a Time (3:17)
  8. 8 What a Friend We Have In Jesus (2:34)
  9. 9 Swing Low Sweet Chariot (3:36)
  10. 10 The Old Rugged Cross (3:45)
  11. 11 Keep On the Sunny Side (2:54)
  12. 12 The Fightin' Side of Me (3:24)
  13. 13 If We Make It Through December (2:55)
  14. 14 Misery and Gin (3:22)
  15. 15 I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink (3:24)
  16. 16 Back To the Barrooms Again (2:24)
  17. 17 Our Paths May Never Cross (4:01)
  18. 18 The Running Kind/I'm a Lonesome Fugitive (3:44)
  19. 19 Rainbow Stew (2:43)
  20. 20 Blue Yodel #9 (2:53)
  21. 21 Dealing With the Devil (3:41)
  22. 22 Fiddle Breakdown (3:48)
  23. 23 Sing Me Back Home (4:06)
  24. 24 Pearl Beer (1:04)
  25. 25 The Man In the Mask (1:33)
  26. 26 The Legend Begins (1:37)
  27. 27 The Breaking of Silver (1:37)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Merle Haggard Primary Artist, Guitar, Vocals, Narrator
Buddy Emmons Dobro, Steel Guitar
Johnny Gimble Fiddle
The Jordanaires Choir, Chorus
James Burton Guitar
Phil Baugh Guitar
Gordon Terry Fiddle
John Barry Conductor
Biff Adam Drums
George Binkley III Strings
Marvin Chantry Strings
Roy Christensen Strings
Virginia Christensen Strings
Ralph Gallant Drums
Carl Gorodetzky Strings
John Hobbs Piano
Thomas "Bunky" Keels Piano
Jerry Kroon Drums
Sheldon Kurland Strings
Don Markham Trumpet, Saxophone
Laverna Moore Choir, Chorus
Larry Muhoberac Keyboards
Roy Nichols Guitar
Bonnie Owens Vocals, Choir, Chorus
Ronnie Reno Guitar, Rhythm Guitar
Eldon Shamblin Rhythm Guitar
Gary VanOsdale Strings
Leona Williams Vocals, Choir, Chorus
Mark Yeary Piano, Keyboards, Electric Piano
Reggie Young Guitar, Electric Guitar
Dennis Hromek Bass
Tracy Barton Bass
Bobby Galardo Drums
Billy Joe Walker Guitar
Stephen Dorff Conductor
Billie "Tiny" Moore Fiddle
Joe Osborn Bass
Joe Allen Bass
James Carlisle Isbell Drums
Hollis R. "Red Lane" DeLaughter Guitar
David Carroll Kirby Guitar
Thomas Grady Martin Guitar
Steven M. Smith Strings
Clint Eastwood Vocals
Murrey M. "Buddy" Harman Jr. Drums
Byron Theodore Bach Strings
Dorothy S. DeLeonibus Choir, Chorus
Wilfried Lehmann Strings
Norman Markham Steel Guitar
Norman Hamlet Steel Guitar
Kemo Kemolian Fiddle, Guitar
Technical Credits
Mac Davis Composer
Merle Haggard Arranger, Composer, Producer
Kris Kristofferson Composer
Eddy Raven Composer
Jeannie C. Riley Composer
Jimmie Rodgers Composer
Floyd Tillman Composer
Carl Perkins Composer
Elvis Presley Composer
Casey Anderson Composer
Bill Justis String Arrangements
Jerry Leiber Composer
Ian Sutherland Composer
Stuart Hamblen Composer
Ernest Tubb Composer
Milton Brown Composer
Otis Blackwell Composer
Gordon Terry Composer
John Barry Composer, Producer
Jimmy Bowen Producer, Source Material
Johnny Burke Composer
A.P. Carter Composer
Hank Cochran Composer, Producer
Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup Composer
Johnny Durrill Composer
Todd Everett Source Material
Don Gant Producer
Tommy "Snuff" Garrett Producer
Peter Guralnick Source Material
Chuck Howard Composer
Bucky Jones Composer
Dave Kirby Composer
Red Lane Composer
Ken Nelson Producer, Source Material
Dean Pitchford Composer
Jeannie Seely Composer
Carl Sigman Composer
Mike Stoller Composer
Sonny Throckmorton Composer
Roy Turk Composer
Porter Wagoner Producer
Marijohn Wilkin Composer
Hank Williams Jr. Composer
Hank Williams Composer
Leona Williams Composer, Illustrations
Gene Sullivan Composer
Daniel Cooper Source Material
Deke Dickerson Source Material
Liz Anderson Composer
Mae Boren Axton Composer
Cliff Crofford Composer
Rex Griffin Composer
Wiley Walker Composer
Joel Whitburn Source Material
Les Leverett Illustrations
R.A. Andreas Illustrations
Richard Weize Reissue Producer, Tape Research
Dave Samuelson Liner Notes, Reissue Producer
Jurgen Crasser Mastering
Ira F. Stanphill Composer
Tommy Durden Composer
Lou Handman Composer
Vera Matson Composer
Mosie Lister Composer
Hal Bynum Composer
Joseph Scriven Composer
George Bennard Composer
Charles C. Converse Composer
Don Cusic Source Material
Stephen Dorff Arranger, Composer
Tex Whitson Arranger
Kurt Wolff Source Material
Arthur Johnson Composer
Bob Allen Source Material
Joe Allen Composer
Royce Porter Composer
Andreas Merck Photo Scanning
Will Thompson Composer
Brenda Colladay Illustrations
Glenn Martin Composer
Jay Johnson Composer
Patrick Carr Source Material
Alanna Nash Source Material
Mychael Gerstenberger Artwork
Charles G. Dawes Composer
Curly Putnam Composer
Charles "Fuzzy" Owen Producer
Snuff Garrett Composer, Producer
Bill Hayes Composer
Sanger D. Shafer Composer
Sam Malbuch Photo Restoration
Tim Davis Photo Scanning
Frank Albano String Arrangements
Alice Foster Source Material
Paul Hamphill Source Material
Judy Hedy Source Material
Jim Jerome Source Material
Gerald W. Haslam Source Material
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